Monday, May 24, 2010
"Why Do You Homeschool?"
I have been asked numerous times to explain why we homeschool. I don't mind the question at all. In fact I look forward to talking to others about our decision to homeschool. Right off the bat, let me preface my answer with saying we don't think homeschooling is for everyone or every family. To be sure, there are many who are successful in educating their children in other ways. There are just too many variables to consider for me to definitively say, "Everyone should homeschool." Besides, I wasn't homeschooled and I think I turned out all right ;)
So now, back to the question. Why did the Pools decide to homeschool? Well, the original reason differs greatly from the current reason... with several medial reasons to fill-in the gap. Probably the greatest influence for homeschooling in the beginning was my desire to watch my kids learn from a very close proximity. I wanted to be the one who would teach them to read, write, tie their shoes, do a cartwheel... My dad taught me all those things. (Well, maybe not the cartwheels.) And I thought he was so cool. I wanted that connection with my kids. Dan and I wanted to be the major influences on our children. How could we do that if they were out of our care for up to seven hours each day?
As the years moved on, we revisited the homeschooling questions... Is this working? Is this the best for our family at this time? Is mom still sane? We took it year by year. Often I was asked, "Are you planning to homeschool through high school?" I wasn't even sure sometimes if I was going to make it through the week let alone several more years. I recall one particular day when Dan was very concerned with the amount of stress homeschooling seemed to be putting on me. He actually said, "I just don't want to come home one day to a note that says you've had enough and are gone to Mexico." Seriously, there were many occasions when I felt like a complete failure. I'd lose my patience, my focus, my inspiration, and my desire. I might have been the one educating my kids, but God has taught me so much about grace, forgiveness, and faith.
When we made the decision to leave California for Missouri where Dan would attend Seminary, the question about homeschooling was an easy one. We were facing four years and tentatively four moves within those years. Would we homeschool? DUH! All that change is crazy enough on its own, but with homeschooling we had a built in schedule; no new teachers, no new curriculum. It was a no brainer. We continued to homeschool through Seminary.
So what has made us continue to homeschool? Results. Plain and simple. It's worked for us. We saw great progress in our kids' performances academically, socially, and spiritually. What Dan and I had envisioned for our family was happening. We wanted empathetic, intellectual, responsible children who loved learning. A bonus we hadn't foreseen was how well homeschooling works with a Pastor's schedule. The flexibility that homeschooling affords us is something I could never relinquish at this stage.
So, this is how our family has functioned for the last 13 years, and we don't even ask ourselves the question anymore.
It's what our family does.